Japan’s Military Defense Branch Starts New Procurement Agency

Japan’s Defense Minister, General Nakatani, announced the official launch of the Ministry of Defense’s new procurement agency on Oct. 1. The MOD’s Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) will be a new body aimed at lowering the overall procurement process costs and boosting Japan’s involvement in international development programs, according to the British defense and geopolitical news source Janes.com.

The reorganization effort will also streamline the policy and decision-making process of two primary functions: handling Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and purchasing new defense equipment. It’s a move many in the United States are welcoming as it’s believed to help coordinate efforts between the two nations in defense technology and strategy.

The Asia-Pacific news site, TheDiplomat.com, reported on the five core goals of the ATLA program. They are as follows:

  1. Efficiently manage JMOD’s acquisition programs,
  2. Enhance international cooperation in the area of defense equipment,
  3. Conduct cost-effective and timely research and development,
  4. Maintain and strengthen indigenous defense technological base,
  5. And pursue greater cost-saving measures.

Two previous organizations, the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) and the Equipment Procurement and Construction Office (EPCO), were combined under the new ATLA umbrella which will now be under the direction of a sole commissioner with seniority rank equivalent to that of vice defense minister. They’re hoping this more efficient uniformity will also reduce the potential for corruption and more accurate tracking of what exactly each department is doing. Payroll is one such area that could stand to benefit from these services the most, as about one in four businesses that handle payroll internally report spending more than six hours a month in it.

The first order of business for the new branch will be defining a set of guidelines for transferring their own defense technology to allies and foreign countries that will aid them, such as the United States.

The next is establishing and classifying what technologies should be ‘untouchable’ to give to outsiders. The U.S. calls these “crown jewels,” and they cannot be transferred to foreign countries regardless of allegiance.

With decisions to be made on an Australian submarine acquisition and possible sale of a Japanese US-2 aircraft to India in the immediate future, the results of the new organization structure will show for themselves sooner than later.

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